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NEW INFO: Judge Rules Mertes Killer Will get Public Defender for Appeal

James Emerson

James Emerson

James Emerson, the man convicted of the 1999 murder of Rhonda Mertes will get a public defender for his appeal.

According to online court records, Judge Greg Grau made the ruling after a hearing Monday morning in Marathon County Court.

The 45-year old Emerson was convicted in February of the 1999 murder of Mertes. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in April.

Authorities say Emerson beat Mertes to death in an abandoned area of downtown Wausau after sexually assaulting or trying to sexually assault the woman. They say he had lured her to the area by promising to sell her marijuana.

Emerson was arrested years later after advancements in forensic technology revealed his DNA was at the scene.

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